Toward the end of World War II, as the Japanese realized that they were losing the war and the American forces were getting closer and closer to their mainland, they devised the awful practice of the Kamikaze. The word in Japanese means “the divine wind.” They made a number of very small fighter planes, just large enough to hold one suicide pilot and a large bomb beneath the fuselage. Those pilots who were willing to give their lives for the defense of their homeland would get into those small planes and aim them at an American warship. If the plane was able to get through the barrage of anti-aircraft fire, it would crash into the ship, either sinking it or inflicting crippling damage upon it. Many American ships and lives were lost as a result of the “divine wind.”
In the Gospel, we hear Our Divine Lord speaking to Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin—the senate of the Jewish people. Nicodemus came to see Jesus under cover of darkness because he didn’t want to be seen visiting Our Lord, since most his fellow-members of the Sanhedrin were very much opposed to Our Lord.
Jesus told him on that occasion that we must be born from above of water and the Holy Spirit. Nicodemus didn’t understand, and asked for an explanation. Now, we must understand that in Hebrew and Greek, the same word means “spirit,” “breath,” and “wind.” When Our Lord spoke of the “Holy Spirit,” he was saying “the divine breath,” or “the divine wind.” And he goes on to tell Nicodemus that we can hear the wind blowing and see the trees waving under its force, but we don’t know where the wind comes from or where it goes. So when God breathes his Spirit into us, we don’t know exactly why we are chosen, or where he intends to lead us by his sacred impulses. We are simply to receive this great gift as receptively as we can, and go where it leads us. Our sails are filled with God.
We have been born from on high by water and the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. And now, we have the beautiful opportunity and obligation to live in this new and divine life in time and in eternity. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.